NT Earns Silver, Bronze At C-USA Track & Field
Mean Green Send Six To Sunday's Finals
EL PASO - North Texas picked up its first medals of the Conference USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships when Breanna Eckels captured second in the women's long jump and James Coleman earned third in the men's 3000-meter steeplechase Saturday.
Eckels, a freshman from Wichita, Kansas, recorded a career-best leap of 6.15 meters, topping her previous high of 6.12 meters in April at the Bryan Clay Invitational. She was narrowly edged by Elizabeth Dadzie of Middle Tennessee at 6.2 meters. Eckels and Dadzie were the only competitors in the field of 27 to exceed six meters.
The Mean Green earned another medal when Coleman, a senior from Melbourne, Australia, turned in a career-best time of 9:03.06, destroying his previous low time of 2017 by more than four seconds. Coleman ran a 9:07.76 at the Texas Relays in April.
But if there was any doubt that Mean Green track is in the midst of a youth movement, it was clearly demonstrated Saturday. Sixty-three percent of the North Texas roster are freshmen and sophomores, and the Mean Green got the majority of its best performances Saturday from those underclassmen. Of North Texas' six qualifiers to Sunday's finals and its six top-10 finishers in field events, four were sophomores and five were freshmen.
The day started with field events.
In the men's javelin, sophomore Javier Lopez-Ibarra earned fourth place with a throw of 62.51 meters, followed by freshman Karl Sralla in eighth at 56.43. In the men's long jump, junior Dominique Drayden finished sixth at 7.22 meters.
Saturday night featured the preliminaries in the track events.
The Mean Green started strong in the first prelim of the evening, sending two of its five competitors in the women's 1500 meters through to the final. Sophomore Susannah Lynch turned in the fifth-best time at 4:37.49, and sophomore Kellee McCann qualified 11th at 4:43.72.
In the women's 400-meter dash, UNT freshman Artesha Richardson claimed the final qualifying position in a time of 55.41.
The North Texas men struggled in the first three events before sophomore James Cole reached the final in the men's 100-meter dash, taking the eighth spot with a time of 10.63.
In the women's 800-meter run, North Texas freshman Kacie Mayberry earned a spot in the final with a time of 2:13.70, good for the sixth spot. Junior Victoria Junious, however, was edged out for the final qualifier and finished ninth.
The Mean Green's upperclassmen - in the minority on the UNT roster with only eight seniors among the 73 student-athletes on the men's and women's teams - made their mark when senior Collin Heard tied for seventh in the 200-meter dash in a time of 21.26 to advance to Sunday's final.
There were two finals in track on Saturday in the night's last events, the 3000-meter men's and women's steeplechase. Sophomore Cassidy Adams took 12th in the women's race in a time of 12:05.46, followed by Coleman's third in the men's race.
In the team competition, the North Texas men ended the day in eighth place out of 11 teams while the Mean Green women are in ninth out of 13 teams going into Sunday. Field events begin at 2 p.m. CT with the track finals getting underway at 5:30.
Event results are posted throughout the meet online by Conference USA.